Iowa lawmakers approve vaccine mandate exemption bill
The Iowa Legislature approved a bill that requires employers to waive COVID-19 vaccine requirements if the employee says its harmful to their health or goes against their religious beliefs.
State of play: The bill was introduced by House Republicans on Thursday during a special session meant for legislators to vote on redistricting.
- It's meant to address President Joe Biden's pending vaccine mandate on private employers.
What it does: Private employees, as well as job applicants, can try to get a COVID-19 vaccine exemption by giving employers a statement saying either:
- Getting vaccinated is "injurious" to their health or their household's health. Employees are not required to get a health professional to sign off, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.
- It conflicts with their religious beliefs.
Plus: If an employer fires an employee for not being vaccinated in general, the employee is eligible for unemployment benefits.
The intrigue: Vaccine mandate protesters told lawmakers to vote no on the bill, arguing it didn't go far enough to be effective.
- Attendees said they don't want a bill that gives exemptions, but rather a full ban on mandates, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.
- They also argued the language is too vague, giving room for employers to deny waivers.
What's next: Gov. Kim Reynolds said she intends to sign the bill, as well as take “immediate legal action” when Biden’s mandate rolls out.
More Des Moines stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.